skip to content

Faculty of Divinity


Divinity student directs video for Cambridge Spring Festival Gala. Xinyi Yang is in the first year of her PhD in the Faculty of Divinity, under the supervision of Professor Catherine Pickstock. She is also a film director, with ambitions to bring the joy and enthusiasm of Chinese New Year to Cambridge and beyond.

What is the Spring Festival?

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, stands as the most grand and vibrant tradition of the Chinese nation. It transcends mere calendrical transition, embodying a confluence of culture, emotions, and aspirations. This festival has the unique power to evoke a deep sense of belonging and nostalgia for home in the hearts of Chinese people, regardless of where they are in the world.

A Spring Festival Gala organised by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Cambridge (CSSA-CAM) has proved to be an annual highlight, eagerly anticipated by numerous students and scholars. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of successive committees, the event has been successfully held for over a decade, marking it as one of the most influential annual events within the UK’s Chinese diaspora.

The 2024 Gala should witness the participation of over 1000 students and scholars from Cambridge and across the UK, along with representatives from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge City Council and elites from the business, political, and academic circles, as well as representatives from the Cambridge Chinese community and Chinese student and scholar associations from across the UK.

Faculty contribution

This year's series of promotional videos for the Spring Festival Gala is directed by Xinyi Yang, a first-year PhD student in the Faculty of Divinity at Emmanuel College. Beyond her academic life, Xinyi is a director and model, with a focus on portrait photography and short film creation. Her works focus on expressing emotions and poetic, philosophical thoughts through portrait art. The collision between traditional Chinese culture and modern culture often serves as her inspiration. She expresses her aesthetic vision through the fusion and balance of diverse cultures and aesthetics. The promotional video encapsulates the same concept.


Joyful background music blends classical Chinese instruments — the Guzheng and Dizi (Chinese Bamboo Flute) — and Western instruments with rap. Traditional Chinese dance, Peking opera, modern ballet, and jazz dance appear sequentially in the film.

With its fast pace and youthful vitality, the video succinctly showcases selected programmes of the Spring Festival Gala within a one-and-a-half-minute duration, conveying the high-quality production of the Gala. As the rap lyrics in the video declare:

“Dragons soar in the sky, as we paint Cambridge red for New Year's Eve; fireworks and crackers are the messengers of spring in every corner of the world.”

Xinyi hopes this short film will convey the joy, jubilation, and enthusiasm of the New Year will to the University of Cambridge and the world at large.


Many congratulations to Xinyi Yang, a first-year PhD student in Divinity/Emmanuel College, working on the philosophy of Margaret Masterman, for her direction of this dazzling film showcasing the upcoming Spring Festival 2024 of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Cambridge! We can’t wait to see more!

Catherine Pickstock (PhD supervisor)